Even though you own a small business and you are creating everything you sell, I still think it’s worth putting certain items on sale. It’s good for business and it’s good for you.
I can only tell you what I’ve experience about owning my own little business. When I put an item on sale. It sells and it sells fast. When I’m at a show and I scratch out the original price and write a sale price, the piece sells. As someone who likes to shop, I know that I like to get a deal. I want to snag something wonderful and unique, but also want to feel like I didn’t pay full price. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that feels this way.
Your inventory takes up space. Whether you are making something tiny or large like furniture, you will eventually run out of space if you are not selling on the spot. This goes for having a brick and mortar or working from your home. You are either paying rent to display your items to sell and/or store your items. If you work from your home as I do, then you lose bits and pieces of your personal space and home. We haven’t had a car in our garage since, well, ever! It’s worth putting some products on sale throughout the year to release some of that realty for new inventory.
As a shopper, I purchase items on sale when the next season is approaching. This is when you get the best deals. There are definitely seasons to refinishing furniture I’ve noticed. Fall and Spring seem to be times when clients want their furniture refreshed and their homes updated. You certainly don’t have to do a sale every season, but maybe start with one to clear some decks.
I think it’s really important to not hold onto pieces and inventory for too long. I think mentally it can really wear on a creative person to see an older piece or a piece they’ve done years ago just sitting, collecting dust. Self doubt starts to creep in and even depression or a loss of focus. If you are feeling this way, then a) you are not alone and b) it’s worth losing some money to move the product out of your site.
I’ve priced items really low to move them and I’ve also even given pieces to friends that would appreciate them when I was just getting too sad to see it every day in my work space. It pinches a bit for sure, but you won’t even remember the loss once you get a new project going and fill the vacant space. That being said, try your best not to cut into the cost when you put something on sale. For example. If I’ve purchased a dresser for $200 and I want to put it on sale, I make sure I do not go below my cost base of $200. Ideally, I want double for what I’ve paid. If I need to move it for space & sanity, I try to at least make a bit of money from the sale. In this example, at least $300.
Of course there are exceptions. If you have an amazing, unique & wonderful item that you a) love and/or b) you know you could sell for full price later then you want to keep it. Put it in your own living space and look at it, use it and love it. What a treat! I have some beloved pieces that for some reason or another did not sell and I’ve incorporated into my home and I would never sell now. Lucky me! OR if you know that you have a treasure then hold on. Try to find another platform to sell your piece/product or even be patient and wait.
Thanks for some great insight. I am just working on my first 2-3 pieces with the intent to sell them. From other projects in the past, I know the disappointment when something you “create” doesn’t sell . You find it, clean it up, re-create it, feel like it is the coolest thing since someone invented peanut butter, and then it just sits there for sale. The time and work involved is a huge investment, but I think the biggest disappointment is the discouragement you feel down deep in your heart. You have to work hard to overcome that. If you have another person involved doing something else, but selling things together, just helps to support each other. Thanks again for sharing your experiences and thoughts.
I had a dresser with great “Bones” I painted it add a French style stencils then distressed it. Put it in my booth at a Antique Shop and there it stayed for eight months. So I took it on the road, first an Antique Show and two outdoor markets. everyone loved it but still no takers. So back to the shop it went. As I was putting it in place a girl said “I Have To Have It” This is your “Lucky Day” So I took $25.00 off the price and away it went. “Lucky Me” She came back to my booth and shows to add two buffets, a hutch, pr. of chairs, table and she keeps giving me her want list. She’s super sweet and I love seeing her. Best deal ever! I have a buyer who loves my stuff and brings her friends along. Vikki
Marian@ Gathering Branches says
This is such great advice! And I love that you remind people they an live with beloved pieces. I was actually relieved when a few of my favorite things didn’t sell in this year’s show. But a sale can really move stuff. You are spot on with all of this.
I really love your small creative business series, Christen. It’s always so worth while. Thanks for taking the time.